PCA: Conteuses and Sex in the City movie

They Lived Happily Ever After: How the Conteuse Tradition Lead to Sex and the City: The Movie
Kathryn Lane, Southeastern Louisiana University

This is a live blogging of the session.

part of the fifth chapter of my dissertation

“They lived happily ever after.”

Louis XV. Conteuse’s.
Not retold. Folded from fairy tale tradition.
Waiting to be refound. Modern day fairy tale.

Elizabeth x Harries (?) Twice Upon a Time

Conteuses (women) were writing well before and as contemporaries of Perault. Not writing for children.

modern text in the Conteuse tradition.

Not more extravagant shoes. Separate tales within a broader narrative frame.

Modern day fairy tale begins with a quest.

Voiceover says “Year after year women come to NY looking …”
economic quest = money, shoes/bags/glitter
Narrator has already found money. Then she begins looking for romance/love.

seemingly simple stories that dominate modern literature

film acquaints audience with the four main characters
“Charlie’s Angels” style, no one in need of rescue
all of the characters have taken journeys for life and romance

All four… four single girls… connected to each other…
Audience is a known entity.

Characters are happy and keep their strong relationship among the four of them.

Conteuse tales were about culture at large.
Faux fairy tale also presents culture at large.
Audience’s told is also being told in Sex and the City: The Movie.

futility of these wishes (happily ever after, love)

tale not meant to be universal
consciously invented and mocking of escapism
falsity of tale being told, audience’s knowledge of this on some level

in the film, the girls behind the curtain are winking at us, never completely hidden and nor do they want to be

conversational frame that spoke directly to their reader.

Even if the stories, the conteuses break the frame. “Haven’t you heard, madame?”

first time in a long time I felt like myself— don’t know why the change of hanging out with the women…

banality of the simple tale

Harries says “self-conscious story telling”

the little girl ignores Carrie’s commentary “You know this is only a fairy tale, right? It won’t always work out like this…”
reason = Carrie
audience = little girl ignoring lack of reality

happily ever after

conteuse -> comic creation of romance… fairy tale trope?

status opp of “happily ever after” can take care of herself
Samantha’s story focuses on her, not her rescuing knight

story continues well beyond the “happily ever after” in the film
marriage =/= happily ever after

Conteuses mocked happily ever after, too.
Happily ever after does not come easily and it is not static.

Shapeshifting, “metamorphoses defines the fairy tale genre” source?

Carrie’s involvement in the wedding leads to Big changing. Carrie turns but she doesn’t look like Carrie. Wearing heavy make-up. New Yorkesque version of the bribe. Big doesn’t recognize her. Big hasn’t been waiting for his princess. He’s been waiting for his Carrie.

Carrie needs to be re-transformed.

new character “fairy godmother” African-American, younger, new to NY

Wave of the Magic Wand… American Media Jorgensen (book?)

new role

Carrie’s character sticks with fairy godmother trope, but it’s Louise…

We were perfectly happy, before we decided to live happily ever after. –Carrie
I guess the joke’s on us. –Big

How come we are willing to recognize our own vows but not our own rules? Major question at the end…

happily ever after takes us somewhere

Conteuses’ stories match fairy tale stories

One thought on “PCA: Conteuses and Sex in the City movie”

  1. I truly enjoyed reading the blog of this presentation. I was wondering, Kathryn Lane, if in your dissertation–or perhaps merely in your ruminations–you relate your idea to ecriture feminine? Irigaray would be the touchstone here.

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